LANGUAGES WITHOUT LIMITS
Sometimes it seems to learners that they are learning the language just in order to be able to do the exercises in the textbook. By showing how the language learned can be used for communication between people in the classroom, teachers can demonstrate that the prime reason for learning a language is to help us to understand and communicate with other people. This seems self-evident, and yet you can still find teachers and trainers who will advocate using the language for cross-curricular purposes yet who will see no link between that approach and the logic of teacher and learners using the target language to communicate with one another in the language classroom!
Discuss - or think about - the following statements describing communicative language. Do you agree with them? Are there any you would add?
The purpose of language learning is to communicate
Vocabulary learned should be useful
Language learned should be transferable
Responding ‘communicatively’ may not involve words
As far as possible, language used by learners should be 'for real'
1B The purpose is different; if the guess is right, the respondent takes the card and wins a point. If the guess is wrong, someone else will provide the right answer. The purpose is for a point to be scored in the course of a game. There is no sense of failure and the learner's confidence is not assailed. S/He will hope to get it right next time and score a point.
2A It's a diagnostic test question, to see if learners have 'got it'.
2B The question is real: the learner wants to know if it’s time yet to go for the scheduled music lesson (for example), or is wondering if it's time for the bell to go for the end of the lesson!
Thinking of your own teaching, create some more examples showing how, by changing the situation slightly, an activity can be made more genuinely communicative.